Max Planck Croucher Symposium

Max Planck Croucher Symposium

26 May 2018

On 20 May 2018, a group of 35 young scientists gathered at Ringberg Castle in Bavaria to discuss the latest advances in their respective fields of biology.

This was the second residential meeting between German and Hong Kong scientists to be organised jointly by the Max Planck Society and the Croucher Foundation. The meeting was chaired by Professor Dr Joachim Spatz of the Max Planck Institute of Medical Research and Professor King Chow of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The objectives were to discuss fundamental research questions across traditional subject boundaries, to share information on unpublished research, and to identify themes and projects for future collaboration. Topics covered in the May 2018 meeting included cell-matrix signalling, neuroscience, molecular cell-biology, self-organisation, computational biology and new approaches for constructing and deconstructing cells.

Speaking after the meeting, Professor Niels Grabe of the University of Heidelberg said that the format for each topic – an introductory talk, followed by two more in-depth presentations on specific aspects of the field with an extended question and answer session at the end – was highly conducive to gaining insights to the subject at hand, its broader implications and its relation to other disciplines. His comments were echoed by Dr Jade Shi of Hong Kong Baptist University who said “the discussions were particularly insightful and stimulating because of the diverse disciplinary backgrounds of the participants. Contrasting viewpoints did not result in conflict, but rather a shared recognition that multidisciplinary perspectives and approaches not bound by traditional disciplines are needed in order to uncover quantitative principles of the complex world of biology that can link molecular mechanisms with macroscopic functions/behaviors and have real predictive power.”

The second Max Planck Croucher Symposium took place over three days from 20 May 2018 at the historic Ringberg Castle and was jointly sponsored by the Max Planck Society and the Croucher Foundation.